There are few things in life that are as satisfying as pairing beer beautifully with food. Drinking a cold, crisp beer with some spicy food of a rich porter with a fatty meat just hits the spot! But which beers should you pair with what foods? The beer pairing chart and guidelines below should help you nail those combinations.
Not sure what food and beer pairings will elevate your meals? We’ve got you covered! We’ll offer some pairing advice based on beer style below.
Pilsners are light beers with a pronounced aroma and a refreshingly bitter finish. German-style pilsners are a very popular choice for pub food. Popular pilsner food pairings include salads, light foods, chicken, oily fish, and marbled meat: the bitterness in the beer also offers nice contrasting flavors for rich sauces and sweet reductions.
Wheat beers are mainly brewed with wheat, giving them a unique, creamy flavor. There are different types of wheat beer based on the kinds of yeast used. What’s more, some brewers add citrus and other fruity flavorings to add to the array of flavors.
The end product is light and gentle to the taste buds, making for a perfect summer drink that makes food pairing straightforward. Food pairing with wheat beers is best done with light foods like salads, seafood, fruits, noodles, or buffalo wings.
Pale ales can have both hoppy and malty tastes depending on the ingredients used in the brewing process. For example, the English pale ale has a hoppy and bitter taste, while the American style is usually malty-sweet.
The hoppy bitterness taste contrasts nicely with spicy, smoky, heat-charred, or aromatic flavors.
Lager beers stand out for their refreshing and crisp taste. Light lagers are among the most popular beers worldwide. They do not have a strong flavor and are rarely bitter or hoppy, making them very drinkable.
Because of the refreshing taste, lagers are best paired with spicy foods. However, they can go well with almost all types of foods. Some of the best food pairings for lagers include noodles, burgers, fried fish, French fries, pasta dishes, fried food, and stews.
The saison is a complex type of beer with a fruity aroma and bready taste sprinkled with tartness. This style of beer is best paired with cheeses, roasted or grilled game, or spicy Middle Eastern dishes.
I.P.A.s are very popular beers in craft brewing. They have a very bitter taste with a moderate amber color. Brewers add herbal tones or citrus to make them more drinkable and enjoyable. Other than the standard I.P.A.s, there are double I.P.A.s and triple I.P.A.s, made with more hops for a stronger bitter taste.
There is a wide variety of I.P.A.s on the market, which allows for more versatile pairing options. Because of the intense flavor, I.P.A.s compliment spicy dishes like curry and spicy tuna well. There are general food pairings that are great with almost all types of I.P.A.s, including steak, ribs, fajitas, French fries, burritos, pork, and mozzarella sticks.
Brown ale, unlike other medium colored beers, does not have a bitter or hoppy taste. Instead, it has a malty flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel. In addition, the English type of brown ale has a nutty and dry flavor. Brewers do not use a lot of hops to make brown ale, and therefore it does not have the intense flavor of some other dark beers.
The flavor of brown ale makes it easy to pair with almost all types of dishes. You can pair it with smoked sausages, game birds, and roasted pork. It also nicely complements peanut sauces, chicken satay, and sharp cheeses.
Bock appears top on the list of heavy and malty beers. It is a very smooth beer with a rich sweet flavor, and it has an interesting undertone of breadiness from the yeast. Because of the rich, sweet flavor, the ideal food pairings for bock beers include spicy foods, dishes with intense Cajun flavors, roasted sausage, or seared foods.
Stouts are exceptionally dark beers with roasted malt flavors. Because of their color, you would expect them to be bitter with high alcohol content, but there are many mild types of stout. This style of beer is smooth and heavy with a chocolate and coffee taste.
Because of the chocolate flavor and low alcohol content, it is best to pair stout with desserts like chocolate mousse, vanilla ice cream, or chocolate truffles. It also compliments salty foods like shellfish, oysters, barbecue food, and rich stews.
Porters have an interesting beer history with roots in London. The original style was very dark and strong, but the porters on the market today are more mild and come in a variety of flavors and styles. However, they have maintained the original dark color, roasted flavor, and toasty aroma. Brewers use roasted brown malts to brew porter, hence the roasted flavor with a crisper finish.
As far as food pairings go, porters are best complemented with foods with deep flavors like smoked meats and spicy foods. You can also complement it with creamy cheeses, coffee, or chocolate-flavored desserts.
Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just want to learn more about how to pair the many styles of beer with your meals, this chart is sure to have something that will satisfy you. The next time you’re sitting down with friends and deciding what food dishes to order, don’t forget that there’s no better food pairing than a well-crafted beer! Now go impress your friends with your new beer-pairing capabilities, and remember to drink responsibly!